Kanya-Bhoj Without a Kanya


“I need to find 9 young girls for Kanya Bhoj.”, “I am fasting for all 9 days.” Well, this is all we get to hear these days as the pomp of Navratra is all around the nation. Be it in the form of Garba from Gujarat or Durga Pooja from West Bengal, the glory of the festival does not go unnoticed. In the land of male dominance everywhere, getting to celebrate feminine power and strength is highly commendable.

How do we visualize Navratri? A pandal of the Goddess Durga seated on a lion and the demon Mahishasur killed beneath her. Why do we see her furious and not calm? Is her situation different from the present reality in any manner?

With recent cases of sexual harassments from various fields and the ever-rising rapes, is the female safe? The pandal of the Goddess looks royal at night in the dark but can a girl step out alone at night without worrying about her safety? Keeping recent news in mind, even temples aren’t safe anymore.

Alright, a girl needs to learn self-defense and protect herself from all dangers. Will a baby in her cradle be able to defend herself? Will a lady with abnormal mindset be able to figure out what wrong is taking place with her?

Maybe it is high time we stop blame games and uproot the entire weed from the soil. Instead of teaching our kids how to score more marks, we can teach them how to behave better towards the other gender. Instead of opting for a female foeticide, why not make the male child more responsible?

Year after year we celebrate all nine forms of Goddess Durga, where each incarnation is unique in her own way. On behalf of these nine Goddesses, we invite nine young girls for “Kanya Bhoj” but when the cases of female foeticide increase, how do we get the 9 girls? When we fail to get these 9 girls, how will the Goddess be happy? How will the festival of feminine strength be celebrated if there isn’t any female left?

Let this year be different. Instead of burning the cracker-filled Ravan on this Dussehra, may we burn the Ravan within us? Let there be fewer Ravans to be burnt next year and more Durgas to be celebrated without any fear.


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